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Parents Need to Get Involved
Monday, 23 November 2009

November 23--  Most of us think of the Paul Anderson Youth Home in Vidalia as a place where young men in trouble go to get help.  That's true, but the home is more than that.  It's actively trying to help parents do more to keep their kids out of trouble in the first place.

"The lost generation is, unfortunately, my generation.  The generation which is raising children today.  We really don't know what's going on with children, we don't  know what's going on with teens, and we are ill-eqipped and ill-prepared to deal with the challenges they face," says Drew Read, the Chief Operating Officer who is heavily involved in the parental outreach program at the home.

Read describes the youth home as a living laboratory reflecting many of the ills which plague our society today.

"Part of raising awareness is communicating to parents what's going on with teenagers today," he says.  "One of the biggest misperceptions we see going on is that people think 'Oh, the people you work with at the Paul Anderson Youth Home are just troubled youth.'  That's a massive misconception.  The truth is that the young men we work with just got caught," Read notes.

According to Read, the youth home population mirrors society. "If you look at it statistically, 54 percent of our young men come from divorced families, most of our folks would say they come from Christian homes and they come from the very wealthy to the very poor," he reports.

"We see some very startling trends we try to communicate to parents so they won't have a need for a facility like the youth home when their children get older," Read says.

For example, he reports more than 60 percent of the home's current population used drugs before age 15.

"Pot usage as early as age seven, cocaine at eight, crack at ten, crystal meth at eleven, now most parents wouldn't believe that is going on.  So what we try to do is communicate with parents and let them know what's happening even at early ages," he says. 

Check back for more on how you can help your kids and grandkids as our series on the PAYH continues.


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